Enthralling tale of Okies being thrown off their land during the Dust Bowl/Depression and subsequently heading west to California to live in squalor with others seeking jobs. Henry Fonda is suitably rebellious as Tom Joad, the kid just back from prison who has to pack up with his family (11 all told) and navigate the route and the perils upon it. So, it's a road movie of sorts, but the real drama takes place in the Golden State when their hopes and dreams are dashed. Director John Ford chose his character actors well (they are not all recongizable stars) and cinematographer Gregg Toland uses light beautifully both on location (particularly in the desert) and on the studio sets. Yet, for all the realness infused here, you can't forget this is a prestige picture, as the flow of things comes to a sudden halt every now and again when one of the players let loose with a hefty chunk of text from John Steinbeck's source novel. Fonda gets the meatiest quotes ("Wherever you can look - wherever there's a fight, so hungry people can eat, I'll be there. Wherever there's a cop beatin' up a guy, I'll be there...") but the picture ends nobly with Ma Joad's (Jane Darwell) "We are the people" speech, apparently producer Zanuck's idea against John Ford's wishes for a more downbeat ending. But how downbeat can you get? That said, I reckon the actual reality for folks at that time was harsher and less cinematic. For all their attempts to p a collective solution to the problems of poverty and exploitation by the owning classes, Steinbeck and Ford wound up being investigated by HUAC (even though Ford was a noted conservative). You can't win.